Well, kids of the Sixties and Seventies, we’re back to protesting again. The symbols are different this time around, but the issues, well, those seem familiar.

Hippies and NFL uniforms? A match if there ever was one.

So, in the spirit of this neo-rebellion, I’d like to start a new protest movement. And this one comes straight from the tube.

Make baseball players stop spitting. Please.

Yeah, the Series is over and the whole seven part episode was must-watch TV, so I gather most of America got to see far too many close-ups of young, often bearded, twenty-something millionaires spitting. And spitting. And spitting. In HD.

It all occurs in a predictable sequence.

The pitcher rubs up the baseball and spits behind the mound.

He spits again while touching the rosin bag. After a couple more spits, he toes the rubber.

The catcher, after tipping his face mask, spits as he turns his head back from getting the sign from his pitching coach in the dugout.

After discussing the potential virtue of the heater or breaking ball, both pitching coach and manager spit through the dugout railing.

Knowing this routine, the bat boy ducks. On time.

The shortstop and second baseman spit as they casually adjust to the location of the next pitch without tipping off the hitter as to location.

The third baseman and third base coach—who represents the opposition—spit toward each other.

Every outfielder is spitting, supposedly to gauge the strength of the breeze.

Players in both bullpens are spitting in all directions for no discernible reason.

The batter spits two or three times because he knows the network is running his stats below his image on screen.

A fan sitting down the first base line spits because he got popcorn caught in his throat. At least he has a legitimate reason.

After getting the sign, the pitcher spits once more, then comes set; the batter asks for “Time” and steps out and spits, pretending a gnat got in his eye. The gnat presumably spits also.

Then the entire process—including the spitting—starts aaallll over.

And let’s not even discuss instant replay. Please.

Do not, I repeat, dear reader, do not pretend to excuse this spitting love affair by saying, “It’s just sunflower seeds.”

That makes it littering. A fineable offense.

I concede that seeds are a better spitting choice than tobacco, but that’s as far as I will go.

It’s the spitting image that drives me to watch football, hockey or heaven help me, golf.

Stop it. Before next season. I protest.

Don Cunningham of Fremont is a freelance columnist.


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